This post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame includes several callbacks to the various installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including one specific reference that should click with longtime fans. As hard as it is to believe now, 11 years and 22 films after it all began, this generation's premier movie franchise kicked off with a relatively grounded and somewhat risky origin story in Iron Man. Starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, few could have predicted at the time that it wouldn't just launch Downey to the top of the A-list and give audiences a new superhero to fall in love with, but completely redefine the film industry as a whole.
More than $18 billion at the worldwide box office later, Marvel Studios is in a position where they can virtually do no wrong. Every film they make, regardless of how popular the character is with general audiences, becomes a hit, and all of their success can be traced back to the original Iron Man. Unsurprisingly, Endgame contains a few nods to that film, most notably when Tony repeats his "I am Iron Man" proclamation before he snaps Thanos out of existence. But afterward, there's another fun nod that ties directly to Stark's first steps towards becoming the great hero he was meant to be.
Following Tony's funeral, his young daughter Morgan is sitting on the porch with Happy Hogan. Happy asks her if she wants anything to eat, and she innocently states she wants some cheeseburgers. All Happy can do is laugh and reminisce about Tony's fondness for burgers. This, of course, is a reference to the original Iron Man, where Tony requests a press conference and an American cheeseburger as the first two things he wants upon returning to the States.
Burgers are a popular food item, but their inclusion in Iron Man wasn't done by random. Yes, a tie-in promotion with Burger King might have had something to do with it, but burgers (seriously) made a tremendously positive impact on Downey's life. In an interview, he revealed it was eating Burger King that convinced him it was finally time to get things back on track. In 2003, he ate a burger that repulsed him so much, he spontaneously threw the drugs in his car into the ocean. In a bizarre instance of art imitating life, Tony Stark made some significant, life-altering choices while eating a burger. During that Iron Man press conference, he announced Stark Industries would stop making weapons.
In many ways, Endgame serves as the ideal bookend to the first decade of the MCU. The franchise that started with Tony realizing he needed to be more selfless ended its first era with Tony sacrificing himself to save all living things in the universe. And on the first steps of his journey, he was munching on a burger, so Morgan's line made for a touching cherry on top of everything. Nobody's going to credit the Whopper for why Thanos was defeated (burgers probably weren't part of Tony's meal plan while he was in captivity), but this connection will still be appreciated by those who have been with the MCU from the beginning.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019